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The Two Toy Theory

The two toy theory is exactly like it sounds! You are playing with your dog with two toys.

The concept is during your designated play time with your furry friend, you have two toys, where one toy is constantly in play.

The purpose of this type of play is to develop the understanding of "out" as when you throw one toy and your dog runs to get it, you have the second toy ready for them. Once they capture the first toy they have won the reward. Now you have your second toy at the ready. You can call your furry friend's name or squeeze their toy or shake it (depending on the toy) and they will drop the first toy to come chase the second. Once they come for the second toy, get ready to throw the second toy to engage the chase. Then grab the first toy again to keep one toy constantly in play and another toy at the ready. This is where the "out" comes into practice. In the event your dog comes back to you for the second toy with the first one still in their mouth: once they have adhered to the "out", they will be rewarded with the second toy. Marking the positive behavior of outing the toy.

The second purpose for this type of play is to help with any possessive behavior that has been created with their toys. We all want to have fun, engaging toys for our furry loved ones and there is nothing wrong with that! The issue comes in when we allow our furry friends to have unlimited access to their toys. This behavior is similar to the idea of letting your child have a phone vs allowing your child to borrow your phone. When you allow your child to borrow your phone, there isn't any surprises when you ask for it back. Your child is typically more understanding vs when you get your child their own phone and you try to take it away. Your child is typically more defensive and unable to understand as they feel because they have it all the time, that it is their phone. This is true when we allow our dogs to have unlimited access to their toys. They also believe that it is their toy and will guard it. This is where having designated play time together and the two toy theory is beneficial. You are teaching your dog that the toy is for them but you allow them to play with it with you because you are the fun. They will instead stop associating the toy itself as their only source of fun and you will become the fun.

These are just some of the ways that the two theory practice can be beneficial for you and your furry friend! Establishing positive behavior and positive association with toys can start at any time! If you have more questions we would love to be of assistance, please call us today!

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